It’s a big weekend for Midtown football teams kicks as Grady High and Georgia Tech hit the highway for some rather important contests.
First up are the Grey Knights, who enter the second round of the Georgia High School Association playoffs on Friday evening. Grady, 9-2, will travel to Walton County to take on Monroe Area, 10-1, in a game set for 7:30 p.m. at Legion Field.
Both teams area unranked as Grady is the No. 3 seed from Region 6-AAAA and Monroe Area is the top seed from 8-AAAA. The Purple Hurricanes pulled out a 21-14 victory over Shaw in the opening round while Grady quarterback Kivon Taylor led the Grey Knights to a 27-17 win at River Ridge last Friday.
The game will one of 35 tonight that will be streamed live on WSBtv.com at www.wsbtv.com/footballscores powered by PlayOn! Sports with live highlights and scoring updates. The games are a combination of PlayOn! Sports produced content and school-produced games through the PlayOn School Broadcast Program.
So even if Grady fans can't make the game, they don't have to miss the action. The winner of Friday’s game will face the winner of the South Effingham/Westover game.
Then on Saturday, the rivalry known as "Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate" resumes as Georgia Tech visits Georgia for a contest set to begin at noon. Georgia's Athletic Director Greg McGarity might have been prescient when he asserted earlier this season that Georgia Tech, and not Florida, is really the Bulldogs' biggest rival.
Who would have predicted a month ago that so much would ride on this weekend's in-state matchup?
Georgia survived the easier of its back-to-back triple-option challenges by defeating Georgia Southern last week.
Now the Bulldogs, suddenly catapulted to No. 3 in the BCS standings, must withstand a visit from Georgia Tech before turning their attention to the SEC Championship game, likely against No. 2 Alabama.
Not so fast, says Georgia head coach Mark Richt.
“Right this minute, all I can think about is Georgia Tech,” Richt told reporters this week. “Does anybody want to talk about Georgia Tech?”
Richt noted that one motivator for Saturday's game, aside from keeping national title hopes alive, is that it's the seniors' final game between the hedges.
The Bulldogs might not have come so far this season without prodding from one senior, Mr. Shawn Williams, who upbraided his fellow defenders after some lackluster performances and might have provided the kick in the pants the team needed to meet its potential.
Williams wears the mantle of team savior reluctantly.
"I don't think it was saving the season," Williams said in a Macon Telegraph story. "I just knew we could do it, so I just had to go out and do it."
So can the Dawgs do it for two more games, against vastly different offenses? Brian Jones of Bleacher Report is pretty sure this week will go OK. Jones notes that Richt has lost to Georgia Tech only once, in 2008. "It seems like no matter what Georgia's record is, it seems to have Tech's number," he writes.
The Yellow Jackets will swarm into a hive of black when they enter Sanford Stadium on Saturday. Several fan groups have called for a blackout in the stands.
What do you think? Can Grady advance? Can Tech pull the upset? Tell us in the comments below.